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Dustin Kensrue – Mercy Lounge – 3/23/17

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A night of covers, originals, and honest singing. That’s what was received out of the Dustin Kensrue and Andy Hull co-tour at Mercy Lounge on the 23rd.

Dustin Kensrue, known to most as the front-man of the underground sensation  Thrice, created an atmosphere of acoustic vulnerability.

On this stage he wasn’t the front man of Thrice. On this stage he was purely Dustin, singing with his acoustic guitar for a room full of people.

His song choices varied from dark, philosophical and introspective, to soft, and heartfelt. He sang Costello, Springsteen, and Brand New. Dustin sang, notably, one of my favorite songs, “Jesus Christ” by Brand New. It was a crowd favorite — you can hear them singing along at one point.

Dustin comments on his performances, “A lot of the material is a little more down to earth, which is one of things that I tried to do with these songs,” says Kensrue. “I get a little heady with the Thrice songs. And I like doing that—I think people like engaging in that—but I wanted these to be more folky, in the sense that this is music coming from a natural place.”

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Indeed the music performed that night was down-to-earth. Raw. Real. Honest. You could hear the breaking in his voice when he sang about missing his loved one. You could feel the pain when he was contemplating the meaning of life in his Brand New covers.

Compare acoustic Dustin to his claim to fame band, Thrice:

 

 

The lyrical content of their latest single is comparable to the songs Dustin performs on his solo tour– just without the heavy backing instrumentals, performing songs like “Hide and Seek,” by Imogen Heap, and “Round Here” by Counting Crows.

Dusin Kensrue and Andy Hull are currently still on their Northeast and Southwest tour, continuing through March 30, 2017. There are currently no scheduled dates for Dustin’s solo career, but be sure to check out his website for details of further tour dates.

If you can’t wait that long, Dustin’s band Thrice will be playing shows throughout the summer!

Music

Laying a Foundation – Tips for beginning performers

Performing can be scary. Networking can be scary, too. But those two essential areas will help you become a better musician, and also help you get a gig!

One thing I will focus on today is getting out and watching other performers. It is important that, if you are interested in performing commercially, you watch other performers. You have to observe their behaviors, what type of environment they’re in, and how it is being received by the audience. If the musicians are not acting appropriately with the setting, you’ll know. If they aren’t a strong vocalist, you’ll know. If the ensemble messes up throughout their set, you know they needed more practice. As you are actively listening, watching, and engaging, make mental or physical note (preferably on your phone because a pen and paper might look weird!) of what they’re doing right, and what they’re doing wrong. Apply that to your performance practice. I bet you’ll notice a difference!

We all can’t afford to pay for shows every time we decide to watch someone perform. Here’s a poster for a segment I will be continuing on my blog. artexpo2019.jpg

 

As you can see, I’ve listed areas in Nashville that provide free entertainment every night. Research (or refer back to my blog!) for reviews of performances at these local venues. Not only will you be supporting the artists performing, but also the local businesses in our area.

While you’re at these events, make sure you are networking with those who also seem engaged in the performance. They may be a record executive, or be a friend-of-a-friend of someone who you could work with in the future.

If you enjoy what you hear on stage, don’t be afraid to talk to the musicians during their breaks. Isn’t it always nice to hear a compliment about your performance? It would be a great way to meet other musicians, too, who you may need in the future. Make sure you are genuine, though, many people can tell when you’re just in it for the connections. If you are sincere, you will probably have a very positive outcome.

 

I hope you enjoyed a few how-to’s if you are interested in live performance! Check back for more posts related to music reviews and events!

DNCE, Music

DNCE – The Cannery Ballroom – Nashville, TN – 1.31.17

The stage turns black. Speakers scream the… Star Wars theme song? The audience begins to audibly scream and laugh out loud. Lights and smoke fill the air, almost blinding us. As the smoke clears, a heavy hip-hop bass line is added to the theme. Headliners DNCE dance onto stage as Darth Vader and Storm Troopers. They wave DNCE flags and begin fighting each other with red light sabers. The crowd goes wild! It’s utterly ridiculous and incredibly fun. This was a taste of what the show was going to be.

Blackout.

Lights up after a quick blackout. The intro for “DNCE” blasts. The crowd goes wild!

DNCE was conceptualized by Joe Jonas, former multimillion record selling member of the Jonas Brothers. DNCE was formed in 2015 by Jonas, who recruited guitarist JinJoo Lee, a South-Korean native. She toured with the Jonas Brothers on their 2009 tour, as Jordin Sparks’ lead guitarist. Eccentric, former member of Semi Precious Weapons, bassist/keyboardist Cole Whittle, and Jack Lawless, former drummer for the Jonas Brothers are also members of the group.

According to DNCE’s profile on Ticketfly, Jonas was thinking of starting a band like this for 5-6 years. Their music is definitely pop based, up-tempo energetic music. Their song “Good Day” is a testament of their overall theme. They want fans to have a good time at their shows, too!

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(Left to Right) Cole Whittle, Joe Jonas, Jinjoo Lee – Cannery Ballroom – 1.31.17

Photo Courtesy of DNCE Twitter Page

Each member of the group has their own style. JinJoo was rocking high ponytails, baggy cargo pants, a Calvin Klein sports bra, and shiny silver glasses. Jonas wore a cheetah print jacket with a high-fashion shirt underneath, two distinct patterns splitting the shirt in half, with white ripped white jeans. Whittle was wearing an Asian-inspired oversized jumpsuit with STOP sign knee-high socks, that matched perfectly with his daring Mohawk. Lawless was probably the most “normal” out of the bunch, sporting jeans and a gray t- shirt.

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-1-45-29-pmCole Whittle – Cannery Ballroom – 1.31.17

Photo Courtesy of DNCE Twitter Page

Their style is definitely worth mentioning. DNCE is marketed as an edgy, eclectic, band, focusing on making vastly different fashion statements. Their outfits always stand out, making consumers question, “What are they wearing!?” But sometimes that’s fashion, right?

_89474934_5ba9315e-6f4c-4f6f-919e-f1bdd100ccd2(Left to Right) Jinjoo Lee, Cole Whittle, Joe Jonas, Jack Lawless

Photo courtesy of BBC News

As the concert continues, it feels as if we’re in a club and DNCE is our DJ. Their energy is radiating towards the audience. They jump all around stage, telling us to do the same. You can feel their energy and see their sweat, even 50 feet back. Members of the band jump into the crowd, and handed the microphone to audience members to sing parts of the song. They even had an intimate moment of performance. It was sort of like an “unplugged” or “acoustic” part of their show. Stagehands brought out large platforms, which were placed towards the front of the stage. Each member sat down for two songs and sang to the audience… I’m sure to take a breather too.

The group ended with their hit song “Cake by the Ocean.”Check out their music video below!

They didn’t even have to sing… everyone knew the words. Even the “oooh-ah-ha’s!”

Finally, confetti cannons blasted fake money with each member of the band’s face on them. From the moment their performance began, to the moment it ended, DNCE kept us laughing, on our toes and having a good time.

Overall, I enjoyed my time at the DNCE concert. They aren’t my favorite band, but they definitely created an exciting, energetic environment that any concert goer would enjoy. I would recommend seeing them again.

Rating 6/10

Photo courtesy of BBC News

Check back for more blog posts about varying genres of music coming to the Nashville area!